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Buddhism’s message of peace answer to terrorism, says PM Modi

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Colombo, May 12 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his 2- days Sri Lanka said that Buddhism’s message of peace is the answer to the growing phenomenon of terrorism across the globe.

“The biggest challenge to sustainable world peace today may not be necessarily from conflict between the nation states,” Modi said in his address here as the chief guest at the UN-recognised 14th International Vesak Day meant to mark the birth, enlightenment and passing away of Lord Buddha.

“It is from the mindsets, thought streams, entities and instruments rooted in the idea of hate and violence,” he said.

The theme of this year’s International Vesak Day, being hosted by Sri Lanka for the first time, is Buddhist teachings for social justice and sustainable world peace.

The Indian Prime Minister said that the menace of terrorism in the region “is a concrete manifestation of this destructive emotion”.

“Sadly, these ideologies of hate and their proponents in our region are not open to dialogue and hence only open to causing death and destruction,” he said.

“I firmly believe that Buddhism’s message of peace is the answer to growing arc of violence all over the world.”

Modi hoped for not just a negative notion of peace defined by the absence of conflict, “but a positive peace where we all work to promote dialogue, harmony and justice, based on compassion and wisdom”.

Stating that the friendship between India and Sri Lanka was etched in time by Lord Buddha, he said that “Buddhism imparts an ever present radiance to our relationship”.

“As close neighbours, our relationship spreads across many layers. It draws its strength as much through our interconnected values of Buddhism as it does from the limitless possibilities of our shared future.”

The Indian Prime Minister also announced a new direct flight between Colombo and Varanasi, the place of Lord Buddha’s first sermon.

“This will ease travel to the land of Buddha for my brothers and sisters from Sri Lanka, and help you directly visit Sravasti, Kusinagar, Sankasa, Kaushambi and Sarnath,” he said.

“My Tamil brothers and sisters will also be able to visit Varanasi, the land of Kashi Viswanath.”

Stating that India was committed to the economic prosperity of Sri Lanka, Modi said: “We will continue to invest in driving positive change and economic growth to deepen our development cooperation.”

He also called for free flow of trade, investments, technology, and ideas between India and Sri Lanka for mutual benefit.

“India’s rapid growth can bring dividends for the entire region, especially in Sri Lanka. In infrastructure and connectivity, transport and energy, we are poised to scale up our cooperation,” Modi stated.

“Our development partnership stretches across nearly every sector of human activity such as agriculture, education, health, resettlement, transport, power, culture, water, shelter, sports, and human resources.”

He also mentioned that India’s development cooperation with Sri Lanka amounted to $2.6 billion.

“Its only aim is to support Sri Lanka in realising a peaceful, prosperous and secure future for its people,” Modi said. “Because, the economic and social wellbeing of the people of Sri Lanka is linked with that of 1.25 billion Indians.”

Modi arrived in Colombo on Thursday on a two-day visit at the invitation of Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena.

This is his second visit to the Indian Ocean island nation as Prime Minister after his visit in March 2015.

(IANS)

World

India, China and Russia hold consultation on Afghanistan

Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia currently enjoy observer status while Sri Lanka, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia and Nepal are dialogue partners.

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Nikolai Patrushev

Moscow/Beijing, May 22 : Afghanistan is a major source of terrorist threats for the countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, Secretary of Russia’s Security Council Nikolai Patrushev said on Tuesday, four days after he held consultation on the issue with India and China.

For the SCO member-states, the threat of terrorism and extremism comes first and foremost from Afghanistan’s territory. We are convinced that any unilateral attempts to solve the situation in the Islamic republic by force bypassing the norms and principles of the international law may only worsen the situation and create additional security risks, Patrushev said.

His comments followed talks India, China and Russia held on Afghanistan and exchanged views in the Russian capital on May 17.

India’s Deputy National Security Adviser Rajinder Khanna, China’s Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou and Assistant to the Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Aleksandr Venediktov consulted each other. Patrushev then held a group meeting with the delegation members of the three countries who took part in the consultation.

The three sides agreed to strengthen coordination and cooperation under the frameworks of the SCO and the BRICS countries, and to hold the next round of consultation in due course, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement.

They also exchanged views on the situation in the Asia-Pacific region and cooperation under the frameworks of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the BRICS countries, reaching broad consensus, said the statement.

On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin at their informal summit in Sochi expressed concern over terrorism and radicalisation. In this context, they endorsed the importance of restoring peace and stability in Afghanistan in an atmosphere free from the threat of terrorism, and agreed to work together towards achieving this objective, said the Ministry of External Affairs.

Patrushev said Russia jointly with other SCO members had been calling for restoring peace and stability in Afghanistan through political settlement led by Afghan citizens.

The Tashkent conference on Afghanistan on March 26-27 confirmed the need to step up multilateral cooperation, including in the SCO framework. We view this meeting, and also meetings in the framework of the Kabul process as a logical continuation of consultations as part of the Moscow format and the SCO-Afghanistan contact group, TASS news agency quoted Patrushev as saying.

Any initiatives on the Afghan track should take into account the interests of regional states and rule out the prospects of imposing unacceptable scenarios on them. In this context, we support the Chinese side’s proposal to hold the second meeting of the contact group in Beijing, he said.

The SCO was formed in Shanghai in 2001 by six founding states – Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

In 2017, India and Pakistan became full-fledged members.

Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia currently enjoy observer status while Sri Lanka, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia and Nepal are dialogue partners.

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World

16 killed in Afghanistan blast

No group, neither the Taliban or the Islamic State, have claimed responsibility for the incident.

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IED Blast
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Kabul, May 22 : At least 16 people were killed when a vehicle, packed with explosives detonated in the southern Kandahar province on Tuesday, authorities said.

Provincial Governor Tooryalai Wesa said that at least 16 people were killed and 38 others wounded in the explosion, Ariana News reported.

According to Wesa, the death toll is expected to rise, as most of the injured were in critical condition.

No group, neither the Taliban or the Islamic State, have claimed responsibility for the incident.

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Business

India’s Ola in 3 more Australian cities

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Ola

New Delhi, May 22: Indian ride-sharing major Ola on Tuesday expanded its services in Australia to three more cities — Brisbane, Gold Coast and Canberra.

To celebrate its launch in these cities, Ola is offering discounted rides from Tuesday. Customers can download the Ola app either from Google Play or iOS App Store, register for an Ola account and begin booking their rides.

“Customers in these cities can book discounted rides using Ola app starting Tuesday,” the city-based online cab aggregator said in a statement here. The online transportation network company has been operating in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne since it forayed into the island-nation early in 2018.

So far, over 30,000 driver-partners have registered themselves with the company since its launch in Australia on January 30, the statement said.

“Over the coming months, Ola is working on its rollout in other Australian cities Adelaide, Darwin and Hobart,” it added.

Founded in 2011, Ola has been competing against Uber in the Indian ride-hailing market. The seven-year-old Ola claims to have over 125 million users in 110 cities across India.

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